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BREAKING NEWS

Robot programs were used online to influence Washington State
Senate race
Says new report

November 08, 2017




New report citing cyber-researchers says "bots" and suspicious Twitter accounts advanced attacks against Manka Dhingra, the Democrat running against Republican Jinyoung Englund in Washington’s 45th District. Photo: Manka Dhingra campaign.
Chronicle staff

(SEATTLE,WA.) -- According to a newly published report by Geekwire, "Bots and suspicious social media accounts were used in an apparent attempt to influence voters in a heavily funded Washington state Senate race that would tip the balance of political power in the Western United States."

A bot (short for "robot") is a program (an app) that operates "as an agent" for a user or another program or simulates a human activity.

On the Internet, the most common bots are programs, also called "spiders" or "crawlers." These bots go to websites and gather their content for search engine indexes.

The story is based on a report from a non-partisan group of experienced cyber security researchers, which the researchers provided to GeekWire Tuesday.

The research report cites "extensive evidence" that suspicious Twitter accounts have been advancing attacks against Manka Dhingra, a Democrat running against Republican Jinyoung Englund in Washington’s 45th District, which includes parts of Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish as well as other cities in the suburbs east of Seattle.

The story says this revelation is the latest twist "in a race that has become a battleground for outside interests."

Dhingra had a double-digit lead going into the late hours Tuesday evening appearing to give her party control of the state Senate, "the last GOP-held legislative chamber on the West Coast," as the Seattle Times put it.

"A victory by Dhingra would flip Washington state’s Legislature and solidify all three West Coast states into a Democratic stronghold, including the governor’s offices and legislatures," said Geekwire.

The high stakes of that race brought in more than $9 million in campaign contributions, making it the most expensive legislative race in Washington state history.

Read the full piece here .





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